Leave partisan politics out of civic functions
THE EDITOR, SIR:
I HAD the privilege of attending the swearing-in ceremony of councillors and mayor last Thursday at the Civic Centre in Montego Bay, an opportunity I welcomed as I find such civic events a learning experience.
I was, however, disappointed at the rowdy and crude behaviour displayed by supporters of the People's National Party (PNP) and the blatant disregard for decency and protocol by the organisers of such an important civic event.
Firstly, protocol demanded that the outgoing mayor (Charles Sinclair), who by law, remains the mayor until his successor is sworn in, be seated at the head table as he will be passing the proverbial baton to the new mayor. Instead, he was seated in the general audience.
Secondly, the backdrop, seemingly intended to be the Jamaican flag, was missing the green. I was subsequently advised that the green was deliberately omitted as the organisers thought it politically incorrect at a 'PNP' function.
As political practitioners, we must be able to separate partisan politics from our hallowed civic functions, lest we contaminate and diminish their value and prestige.
What was painfully obvious was the absence of leadership on the part of senior PNP functionaries who failed to assert their presence in the room. One would have thought that their presence alone would have been sufficient a restraint for their misguided and exuberant supporters. With the exception of Mayor Glendon Harris, none sought to admonish their supporters who hurled verbal abuses and boos at Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillors, particularly, former Mayor Sinclair.
This apparent worrying trend also occurred in Portmore at the swearing-in ceremony for Mayor George Lee, where former Mayor Keith Hinds was rudely booed by PNP supporters. Kudos to Member of Parliament Fitz Jackson, who attempted to provide some leadership in that matter.
Jamaicans are now demanding of us (politicians) a kinder and civil politics, one that engenders mutual respect and harmony. The crude and crass behaviour demonstrated at both civic functions must never be repeated and should be condemned by all well-thinking Jamaicans. As leaders, we must lead.